Ehud Olmert requests presidential pardon on bribery conviction


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who spent 16 months in jail on a bribery conviction, has asked the country’s president to pardon him in order to erase his criminal record.

Olmert made the request of President Reuven Rivlin on Monday. A pardon would allow Olmert to return to politics.

Rivlin had turned down a previous pardon request by Olmert while he was still in prison. The president, however, lifted all parole restrictions from Olmert two days after he left prison in July. Olmert served 16 months of a 27-month sentence.

Olmert was the first Israeli prime minister to serve time in prison and be sentenced to jail. He resigned his post in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.

Last month, Olmert published a nearly 900-page scorched-earth book in which he continued to proclaim his innocence, criticized enemies and allies, and blamed the harm to his political career on extremist forces in the right wing. Olmert wrote the book while he was in prison.

Rivlin would consider the pardon request as he does all others, the president’s office told the local media.

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